Going big is freaking scary and takes a lot of work too. You may fall hard and painfully, you may fail spectacularly, or you may just fizzle out; none of which is very appealing. For 99% of the population, the risk associated with change is a favorite excuse to stay stuck right where they are. Big dreams take a backseat and life moves on.
When Big Dreams and Personal Risk Collide = Excuses
I have a friend who always talks about the business she’s going to start. In fact, she talks about her product lines in great detail as she spends every night before she goes to sleep obsessing about it. I’ve known her for over a decade, and her business ideas have never gotten lift-off beyond shared aspirations over a cup of coffee.
“I need to focus on the kids.”
“I don’t have enough time.”
Another friend that wrote a book, a lifelong dream. He didn’t edit it much because his words “flowed,” as if divinely written. After ignoring feedback from his beta readers, because he believed in the content and composition, he declared it complete and sent it to one agent. When he didn’t hear back six months later, he gave up on it. In fact, he never wrote another word.
“I didn’t care about it that much.”
“I’ve moved on.”
A client who was miserable at work decided it was time to move on to a new job. Tired of the corporate game, she decided to start her own business. Let me tell you, the vision board she lovingly created was fabulous, detailed, inspirational. She finally found a workable space for her new venture and was ready to rock and roll. At the start of our next coaching call, she told me it was too expensive. Maybe she should stick with her current job for now.
“It’s not so bad where I am.”
“I can’t afford my dream.”
Another client wanted to change fields. He worked in recruiting for his entire career, but for the past few years realized he’s much more passionate about sales. When he went on sales calls and was in front of the client with the Business Development team, he felt alive. Maybe it was time to give up his desk and focus on BD. Unfortunately, they had a much lower base salary with most of their income dependent on commission.
“I’m experienced. I can’t just walk away.”
“I have a mortgage.”
It’s More than Excuses Keeping You Stuck
Excuses are easy. They protect you from feeling what’s underneath the excuse. The fear that you could play big, put yourself out there, risk everything and still fail? Yikes.
What If You Kept Going Through the Pain?
When you start a new business, write a book, change jobs, it can be a painful process to get from where you are today to where you want to be. In my experience, there are a lot of people who stop before they even start, another handful that plain old give up on their goals forever.
Let’s play out another scenario.
Julie had gained 25 pounds since the birth of her third child. She felt stuck at home and didn’t recognize her reflection in the mirror anymore and decided to buy a FitBit. At first, she pushed herself to increase her daily steps by dancing around while doing daily chores but it wasn’t enough to hit her goal.
In the early mornings before her husband left for work, she decided she’d start running. Initially, she could barely make the loop around her neighborhood. She was constantly sore and bitten up by little bugs. Fast forward one year later, and she completed her first marathon. Now, two years in she’s traveled the world running in high profile marathons and completed her first ultramarathon.
What’s the difference between Julie and the book writer, the BD wanna-be, the not-now entrepreneur?
She didn’t stop or give in to the fear. She found her limits and kept on going.
Sounds easy. Too easy, right?
If I want to go after a big dream I should just do it?
Life is not that simple.
You’re right. It’s not. But what if…
Instead of Excuses, Try Permission
* You don’t have to quit your job tomorrow to get started today.
* Stop worrying about what other people think and how they’ll judge your choices.
* Do something instead of doing nothing. What’s your next step?
* Stop your thinking cycle and take action. It’s easy to ruminate forever.
* Put yourself out there again with the lessons learned from last time.
* Give yourself time to ramp up before you make the big leap. Ever hear of small steps?
* Make one hard choice today which will pave the way for another hard one tomorrow instead of thinking it’s all or nothing NOW.
* Don’t let your dream follow you for the rest of your life like a shadow.
So for you… is it fear of failure, of success, of looking silly, of people asking you questions, what? Isn’t it time you figured out the answer?
You are capable of so much, don’t let the devil on your shoulder tell you what’s possible. Flick him off and tell yourself. You decide if your big dreams will become pipe dreams or not.
Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
If you’re ready to break free from your excuses and the fear, let’s talk.